People living with disabilities in Ethiopia are often sidelined in society, unable to access education and healthcare and failing to achieve their full potential.
These challenges can seem insurmountable to those who may live in rural areas or are unable to avoid medical assistance. But we know it is possible for these children and adults to be active members of their communities.
To create a disability-inclusive society across Ethiopia by treating orthopedic disabilities, creating community awareness to remove stigma around disability and provide mobility aids.
Alongside this, the solution also includes access to quality education for children with Special Educational Needs, to ensure that no one gets left behind.
Before 9 year old Hana started therapy with Cheshire Services, she couldn’t walk or talk. Her future looked bleak.
My name is Masho Kidanemariam. I want to tell you my story and about the lives of blind children in Ethiopia.
Before joining Cheshire’s project Solomon’s health was poor. Now he and his mother are able to support themselves.
Standing for ‘Special Educational Needs’ in the Tigray region, SENTigray supports children in northern Ethiopia who are visually impaired. SENTigray also support the children at the Mekelle Blind School where they offer a full school curriculum so that children with low or no sight can still access the same education afforded to their peers. A major project of SENTigray has been to create audio “Talking Textbooks” as a supplement to braille textbooks. While learning braille is still an important part of the curriculum, the portable Talking Textbooks are less expensive and less cumbersome to use.
Cheshire Services aims to bring about a disability-inclusive society across
Ethiopia. They do this through their main activities: treating orthopedic disabilities among children and youth, creating community awareness to remove the stigma associated with disability, and provision of mobility aids and rough rider wheelchairs. Their Menagesha Rehabilitation Centre is their flagship site, providing both resident children and outpatients with corrective surgery, physiotherapy and custom-fitted prosthetic limbs and mobility aids. For children living in more remote areas, Cheshire Services run a mobile outreach service where a team of physiotherapists, orthopaedic technologists and a social worker can assess, treat and follow-up both new and old patients.
In 2019, Ethiopiaid’s donors and local partners made a real difference to families in local Ethiopian communities:
children benefitted from physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatments
persons received rehabilitation services, mobility aids and support
wheelchairs produced each year after Rough Rider wheelchair production upscaled.
New school enrichment clubs for visually impaired students at the Mekele Blind School including sports, gardening, gender and girls clubs
disabled households have increased incomes
carers of children with disabilities trained in basic rehabilitation treatments
Practical and emotional support for grade 8 visually impaired students at Mekele Blind School, as they transition to living independently in the community
Enrichment and transition officers for the visually impaired
Adolescent girls are often subjected to harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation, gender-based violence and child marriage.
Around 60,000 children live on the streets of Addis Ababa. More than half have no access to shelter, adequate food, or an education.
Ethiopia has over four million people over the age of 60. Many of these people have no access to a state pension and are unable to save for their old age.